Following the success of its Canvas 2 and Canvas HD smartphones, Micromax has been able to establish itself in the Indian smartphone space as a player that offers the best value for its customers' money.
The Canvas 4 follows the same design cues that we've seen in the Canvas HD and Canvas 2, and from a distance, the phone doesn't look very different.The front of the phone is dominated by the 5-inch display, below which you'll find the three capacitive touch keys for Menu, Home and Back. A chrome grill that serves as the earpiece, the sensor array and the 5-megapixel front camera are placed above the display. The bezel is wide but it's not flat as it meets and the edges and there's some embossing, similar to the Galaxy S3.
The phone is surrounded by an aluminium frame in the middle.When you shake the phone, you'll also hear some sound coming from the same area due to their movement. The Micro-USB port is located at the bottom. The 3.5mm headset jack sits at the top of the phone.The back features a removable plastic cover that sports a glossy finish but there's a mild texture effect as well, which you'll only see when you look closely.The 13-megapixel rear camera is located right at the top in a round chrome ring enclosure, along with an LED flash and a secondary microphone.
While everyone was hoping that the Canvas 4 would come with a full-HD display, Micromax has decided to skip the upgrade and has included a 720p display, similar to that of the Canvas HD. The phone's 5-inch HD IPS screen sports a resolution of 720×1280 pixels and a colour depth of 16.7 million.
However, we felt that the screen's colour temperature was skewed towards the colder side, with whites carrying a blue tinge.Under sun visibility was good, though the screen is very reflective. Thanks to the IPS panel, we found that the viewing angles were very good, which essentially means that more than one person can view content playing on the screen properly, even from different angles. We also found the touch response of the screen to be better than most budget phones.
The Micromax Canvas 4 runs Android 4.2.1 Jelly Bean, the latest iteration of the OS. Micromax has skinned some elements of the user interface, such as the app icons and the Settings menu.
The phone also offers four themes, namely Mint, Mocha, Raspberry and the default theme that bring minor changes in the phone's colour scheme.The notification tray features a settings shortcut and a clear all notifications button, along with expandable notifications (expanded with the two-finger pull gesture). It features the same setting toggles shortcut that's found in stock Android and adds some of its own as well, for quick access to Airplane Mode, Battery status, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, Data connection, Data usage, User (audio) Profiles, Brightness, Screen backlight timeout and Auto rotation.
Micromax has also bundled a new Video Player app with the phone that offers features like ‘Pause on look away' using the front camera to detect if you're looking at the screen of the phone, and automatically pausing and resuming videos. We've seen this feature in high-end phones like the Samsung Galaxy S4 and the LG Optimus G Pro. You can increase and decrease the volume or brightness while playing a video by just swiping up and down the screen at the left and right hand sides. It also allows you to preview one video while playing another one, and view videos on a floating player window while doing other tasks through its pop-out feature.
The handset also offers FM Radio and FM radio recording.
The phone also offers gestures like flip to silent, ability to answer the phone by bringing it near to the ear, and dial the number on the screen when the user brings the phone near the face.
The Micromax Canvas 4 has a 13-megapixel rear camera and a 5-megapixel front facing camera. Both the camera lenses are an upgrade from the Canvas HD's 8-megapixel rear shooter and VGA front facing camera.
The app includes Normal, HDR, Face Beauty, Smile detection, Exposure compensation, Panorama, Photosphere(multi angle view) modes. It also offers a burst mode, letting users click up to 99 shots at once. The photo mode allows users to modify settings like Exposure, colour effect, ISO and white balance, among others. There's a self timer of up to 10 seconds as well.
The camera is capable of recording full-HD video and takes good quality videos depending on the ambient light. However, it saves video clips in .3GP file format, which is an older file format.The 5-megapixel front camera takes above average pictures, and can be used for video conferencing. We wish the phone had a dedicated camera button to help click a quick picture.
The Micromax A210 Canvas 4 is powered by a 1.2GHz MediaTek MT6589 quad-core processor with 1GB RAM onboard, and PowerVR SGX544MP GPU. There is 16GB of internal storage, 10GB of which is available to the user.
With Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, the overall experience of navigation through the interface was impressive, thanks to Project Butter and the phone's quad-core processor. We did not experience any lag while launching apps, playing games, scrolling web pages or switching between apps. It is safe to say that performance wise, the Canvas 4 scores well. We were able to play games like Jetpack Joyride, Chimpact, Asphalt 7 and Shadow Gun without encountering any lag.
We were also able to play full-HD clips, with the phone supporting formats like .AVI, natively, though we experienced some issues with audio while playing an MKV format video.The phone comes with a 2,000mAh battery, and based on our experience, it will just about last you a full day. We charged the phone in the morning (at around 10am), and with medium to heavy usage, including 1-1.5 hours of phone calls, two e-mail accounts with push notifications, screen at maximum brightness, playing some music and video clips (about an hour), casual web browsing, Twitter notifications and WhatsApp chats, the phone lasted 8-9 hours.
The Canvas 4 is at best an incremental upgrade to the Canvas HD. Apart from the ‘better camera' which we didn't find any better and slightly improved build quality, it doesn't bring anything extra ordinary to the table. The software features that it offers are gimmicky and can be added with the help of some third party apps available on the Google Play Store. You are unlikely to use them on a regular basis. The only thing we're happy about is the increased internal storage capacity, which will allow users to install more apps.